Design Buzz

A blog site for those interested in today's bar and nightclub design trends, including interviews and product reviews

Lighting Products for Bar Design and Where to Purchase

What are the top lighting products for bar design? Today we'll discuss the most popular lighting for bar design and recommendations where to purchase them.

Are you a bar owner in search of some new lighting ideas? There are so many lighting products it can be overwhelming. What about that LED lighting everyone is talking about? You see LED lighting all over the internet, but where does one begin to figure it all out?

What is the Most Popular Lighting in Bar Design?

I don’t know that there’s a clear-cut winner, in terms of brand, but in terms of category I would have to say that LED lighting is theBucks County Playhouse The Deck 5 most popular. Most people think of LED lighting as the narrow strips of tiny colored bulbs (called ‘lamps’) frequently seen along soffit edges, under bar tops, etc. Nowadays, however, it seems that nearly every type of fixture has been adapted for an LED lamp, a trend that has emerged over the past five years. There are several reasons for this:

  • The efficiency of LED lighting makes it extremely attractive for bars.

  • As the demand for LED lighting has increased the price has decreased.

  • With increased demand, lighting manufacturers are offering a wider range of products.

Most bars aren’t set-up with maintenance staffs, so it’s appealing to purchase products that have exceptional durability. For instance, the lowest-rated LED lamps are typically rated at 50,000 hours. This means that an average LED can be operated 16 hours per day for 8.6 years! As I mentioned in a previous edition of Design Buzz (which can be read here), in 2007 the U.S. Energy Code mandated a higher standard that will ultimately require compliancy, which typically occurs when building permits are pulled.

In spite of the appeal of LED lamps, other types of lamps are still commercially available.

Top 5 Lighting Picks for Bar Design

There are a ton of choices when selecting lighting for bars, and they all fall into the class known asShowroom 2 commercial lighting. It’s important to note that the term commercial lighting means different things to different people. Among the engineering and architectural community, commercial lighting is a class whose specifications are very sophisticated: every aspect of a typical fixture, including trim, finish and lamp, is specified. This is true architectural lighting and the cost of an average fixture can be several hundred dollars, which is unattractive to most bar owners. Another class of architectural lighting is available which combines styling with limited options, and is manufactured offshore. This type of lighting is much more affordable and to the untrained eye it appears very similar to the aforementioned. Because of the limited options, fixtures in this class can be shipped on fairly short notice, and at a fraction of the price. Two companies who do quite an excellent job with this class are Liton Lighting and Con-Tech Lighting. I’m familiar with the product offerings of both companies and specify them frequently. The following are my top picks for bar design, broken down by area:








pdfHouse lighting

Liton Lighting


pdfPendant lighting (above the bar top)

Con-Tech Lighting


pdfRecessed can lighting (above the bar top)

Con-Tech Lighting


pdfTask lighting (underbar, above equipment)



pdfAccent lighting (bar fronts, soffits)







What You Need to Know About Purchasing LED Lighting FOR BAR DESIGN

The lighting listed in the first three categories above is sold exclusively through commercial factory reps and distributors. In fact, this is how many commercial products are marketed. I’m all for saving a buck, but unless you have a thorough knowledge of commercial lighting you will do yourself a huge injustice by attempting to do this on your own, and the manufacturers know this. Even though the products offered by Liton and Con-Tech have a more narrow specification range than true architectural lighting offered by other companies, there is still a great deal to know. So when you are ready to purchase commercial lighting and eventually referred to a distributor, such as my good friends at Midwest Lighting in Chicago, you will receive numerous benefits, such as:

·  The expertise of a true industry lighting professional; Lindquist has over 30 years of experience and is willing to share it with you.

·     You will have a greater awareness of the various product options and limitations.

·     Your order will be prepared for you.

To elaborate on the latter point, the distributor will list every piece of hardware that it takes to complete your order. For instance, a typical order for track lighting can include upwards of 20 individual parts! In short, your commercial lighting distributor brings a great deal of knowledge and assistance to the table.

Here’s a brief commentary of the above listed items:

·    House lighting

When I talk about house lighting, I’m referring to lights used by staff before and after working hours. Recessed lighting consists of two components: 1). The housing and 2). The trim. Liton’s 6” LED lighting is very cost-effective. The housing I always specify is known as a remodeling housing, which is a housing that doesn’t have to be mounted to overhead structure. This alleviates you from making a minor mistake in the light’s ultimate location.

·    Pendant lighting

Although Liton offers a series of pendant lighting, Con-Tech’s product line is vast, with a large variety of finishes, shapes and sizes, as seen in the above downloadable cut sheets.

·    Recessed can lighting

Con-Tech Lighting again leads the way, with a large variety of sizes and trims. In fact, Con-Tech offers recessed cans as small as 2”.

·    Task lighting

If there’s one area where a consumer is fairly safe to purchase commercial lighting without the guidance of a lighting distributor, I think it’s in the arena of LED strip lighting. SuperBrightLEDS.com makes it super-easy for consumers to shop their site. For underbar lighting, white light is what you need, i.e.,
RGB LED lighting will not provide you with the adequate lighting in this application. Also, SuperBrightLEDS takes it a step further, by offering mounting brackets (you’ll find these under the accessories tab of each product).


·    Accent lighting

Again, SuperBrightLEDS.com is a very reputable source for quality LED lighting products. The
RGB LED product I specified above is really great for mounting to soffits. If you want to wash the face of your bar front, simply purchase the 45 deg. mounting bracket and mount it to the bottom of your bar top, about 3” inward. 


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Seven Questions Commonly Asked About Bar Design 101:

1.      What Professional Bar Design Services Do You Provide and How Much Do They Cost?

2.      How Can My Bar Be Designed for Maximum Efficiency and Profits?

3.      How Much Does Bar Equipment Cost?

4.      How Do You Design and Build a Commercial Bar?

5.      What Are The Best Lighting Products for Bars?

6.      What Are The Best Countertops for Bars?

7.      What Is The Best Furniture for Bars?

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